10 March 2014

Healing by Level and Constitution

A common problem with healing is that it takes a disproportionately longer time for higher level characters to heal than it takes for lower level characters. This is because there is a uniform healing rate. Some propose to correct it by having characters recover a percentage of their hit points. For example, if everyone has a 20% hit point recovery rate per day of rest, then a character with 10 hit points would recover 2 hit points per day whereas a character with 40 hit points would recover 8 hit points per day. It's an excellent solution, but I think there is a simpler (and therefore better) way. [EDIT: It is not excellent, and what I propose below is not better.]

In the interest of keeping calculations minimal, I suggest that the rate of recovery ought to be 1 hit point per level per day of rest. [EDIT: Bad idea. See comments.] Characters of 0 through 1st level would recover 1 hit point per day. A 9th level character would recover 9 hit points per day. The advantage, of course, is that all one needs to know is one's level. No calculations are required. The other advantage is that one is rewarded for one's level, which is a result of experience, rather than being rewarded for one's luck at rolling hit dice. [EDIT: True, but still a bad idea.]

I also suggest that the constitution bonus should be added to one's rate of hit point recovery. (Conversely, I do not recommend that the penalty for low constitution should be applied, on the the grounds that all characters should be guaranteed a minimum recovery rate of at least 1 hit point per day under normal circumstances.) It seems reasonable to me that the attribute representing one's health and endurance should be a contributing factor to one's ability to recover from injury. Those who are healthy recover more quickly than those who are not. [EDIT: I stand by that, but I haven't playtested it yet.]

So, in summary, my house rules for healing are:

  • Hit points are recovered at the rate of 1 hit point/level/day of rest.
  • Any constitution bonus increases the rate of recovery accordingly.


  1. You do realize that:

    1. No one will take more than a week to heal,
    2. Magic-Users will heal fastest, Fighters will heal slowest, and
    3. Very high level characters will heal even faster?

    1. Wellllll, I never said I playtested it. Heh.
      Seriously, though, you make valid points. What if I altered it to 1 hit point per level tier? As in, fighters heal 1 hit point per two levels per day, clerics heal 1 hit point per three levels per day, magic-users heal 1 hit point per five levels per day, and thieves heal 1 hit point per four levels per day.

  2. I solved this problem by boosting healing for the cleric...
    i.e., Cure Light Wounds heals d6 + cleric's level..
    high level players tend to hang out with level clerics or priests ...
    . . .
    for mundane healing (bandaging, herbs, leeches, etc..)
    once per game session = d4 + targets level
    of course , mundane healer has to make a skill check ..

    1. I am strongly in favor of increasing the effectiveness of spells that heal hit point damage.

  3. Now that I have consulted my rulebooks, I am forced to reconsider some things. According to Basic D&D, the recovery rate is 1-3 hit points per day of rest. According to AD&D 1st edition, it's 1 hit point per day of rest for the first 30 days, after which it's 5 hit points per day of rest. If I'm sticking with Basic/Expert D&D as my base rules (which I am), maybe I should keep the 1d3 rate and add the constitution bonus.

    1. It's funny how one blends the rules of different editions and forgets one is doing it.